ARLINGTON -- Don't tell the Rangers they have an 8 1/2-game lead in the American League West."I don't care what the standings are. We haven't accomplished a thing yet," third baseman Michael Young said. "We have a lot of work to do, a lot of improving to do and that's what we're going focus on. Trying to get better and try to win every ball game we play." After defeating the second-place Athletics, 3-1, in 10 innings on Tuesday night, the Rangers have stretched out their division lead. But the Rangers don't care much for where they stand. "It's too early. It's too early to think about how many games of a lead we have," outfielder Josh Hamilton said. "When it gets midway through September, we assess the situation. But right now, it's just one game at a time." Young insists that the Rangers have too much to work on in order to think they're well on their way to locking up their first division title since 1999, despite how impressive of a stretch they've encountered since going 53-32 -- the best record in the Majors -- since April 22. "We're a confident team, we're happy with the effort and work we've put in so far, but our job's not over," Young said. "Every guy in this locker room can look at a part of his game, tighten it up and make it better. That's the goal."
Deadline sparks interest in Texas prospects
ARLINGTON -- As Saturday's Trade Deadline draws closer, the Rangers are receiving several inquiries regarding their farm system.The Marlins are interested in right-handed pitcher Evan Reed as part of a trade for infielder Jorge Cantu, whom the Rangers have been looking at as a right-handed-hitting corner infielder. Additionally, clubs are inquiring about right-handed pitcher Fabio Castillo, who is 1-3 with a 2.43 ERA in 40 2/3 innings for Class A Bakersfield this season. He's struck out 47 and walked 23 during that span. Reed was 1-1 with a 1.62 ERA in 30 games with Double-A Frisco this season before being called up to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Reed, the Rangers' third-round pick in 2007, had given up 35 hits in 39 innings with 13 walks and 34 strikeouts in Double-A. He's 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA with Oklahoma City in just two innings of work. Castillo, a native of the Dominican Republic, was signed by the Rangers in 2005.
Washington gives Kinsler a break
ARLINGTON -- Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler received a day off on Wednesday, but manager Ron Washington said it wasn't because of his performance in Tuesday's win over the Athletics.Kinsler went 0-5 with a strikeout and popped up on a 3-0 count with runners at the corners to end the ninth inning in a tie game. "Missing a 3-0 fastball doesn't have anything to do with it. I just felt like it was time," Washington said. "There wasn't anything that he might have done that made me do it. I just felt like it was time. When I get that feeling, I just go with it." Washington supported Kinsler's 3-0 swing in the ninth, saying it was his decision to give Kinsler the green light. He said he'd do the same thing should the situation arise again. "Winning run sitting at third, I got my third hitter up there," Washington said. "He threw him three straight sliders. He did not want to walk him. That was my shot right there. Didn't work. If the situation came up again, I'd give it to him." Washington also understood Kinsler's error in the sixth which allowed Oakland's only run of the game to score. Coco Crisp stole second with one out but Kinsler failed to cover the bag. And after Bengie Molina's throw sailed into center field -- allowing Crisp to reach third -- he easily came around to score on a two out single to tie the game. "You call that mental. Just a mental lapse," Washington said. "He took the blame for it and we're moving forward. I think if you play out there on that field long enough, you'll do something like that at some point. Let's just hope it's only one time." Taking Kinsler's place at second was Andres Blanco, batting ninth. Michael Young hit in Kinsler's usual three-hole with Julio Borbon took Young's spot as the second man in the lineup.
Holland solid in first rehab start
ARLINGTON -- Rangers left-hander Derek Holland had a successful rehab start in his first appearance with Triple-A Oklahoma City Wednesday.Holland picked up the win after allowing just one run on one hit with two walks in a strikeout in five innings of work. The plan was for him to throw five innings, and he accomplished that feat in only 60 pitches. "He threw 60 pitches today. Of course, we've got to get him to over 100," manager Ron Washington said. "I figure, he threw 60 so next time he might go 90." The only hit Holland surrendered came in his final inning on a homer by Round Rock's Chris Shelton. The only other baserunners he allowed came via walks, both of which led off the first and third innings. But Washington viewed the start as a success. And should Holland work his pitch count back up, his return to the Rangers could come soon. "We're looking at maybe two more starts before he might be available to come up here, take the ball and keep it for as long as he has to," Washington said. "We can't bring him up here and have him on a pitch count."
Rangers cautious with celebrations
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are trying to be more cautious as they celebrate walk-off victories this season.After Nelson Cruz's homer won it for the Rangers in 10 innings on Tuesday night, Cruz made sure he was careful as he crossed home plate before being mobbed by teammates. "Did you see us last night? We were conservative last night," outfielder Josh Hamilton said. "It's just weird stuff happening. But at the same time, when I've gotten hurt in the past, besides last year, it's been getting up off the couch or doing something normal. You never know what's going to happen." On May 29, the Angels' Kendry Morales saw his season come to a close after breaking his leg while leaping onto home plate after hitting a walk-off grand slam. Chris Coghlan of the Marlins joined him on the DL earlier this week after suffering a torn meniscus in his left knee after delivering a pie in the face to Wes Helms, who had won the game on a walk-off. "When the guys running in and scoring that run, I think it's just to touch the plate, let the guys hit you in the head a little bit, shake hands and get in the clubhouse," third baseman Michael Young said. "Obviously, all the celebrations have curtailed a little bit, but we're not going to stop being fired and up and being happy in that moment." But shortstop Elvis Andrus says he doesn't plan on holding back too much should he be the next Rangers player to hit a walk off. "If I get a walk-off, for sure I'm going to be jumping around and everything. It's a celebration," Andrus said. "But with everything happening right now, you might be cautious about it. But I'm still going to try and enjoy that moment."
All three of the Rangers' home runs in extra innings this season have come off the bat of Nelson Cruz. All three have been tie-breaking or game-winning shots. ... Cliff Lee has thrown at least 8 1/3 innings in each of his first four starts with the Rangers this season, the longest streak by a Rangers pitcher since Charlie Hough did it in six straight starts in 1988. ... Vladimir Guerrero's RBI double in the first inning on Tuesday snapped his season-long nine-game RBI drought.
Chris Cox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.